Beyond shop local is bank local

Shop local is a popular topic here, but this week I’ve watched a new trend pop up: bank local.
Homecoming 2009
Move Your Money is encouraging people to shift their money to locally owned banks. The site includes bank rankings by Institutional Risk Analytics. All of my local banks scored B+ or higher.

The project was dreamed up at a pre-Christmas dinner party of political activists. And the campaign is seemingly everywhere. It has spread by social networks, and while I was in Dallas this week, I saw it on the local news.

Your local banks are important your community. The people who work there volunteer in your community. You see them in the homecoming parade. (When was the last time you saw your international mega-bank in your small town parade?)

Jack Schultz has reminded us that “too big to fail” should come with additional capital reserve requirements. I listen to Jack on banking issues because he serves on his local bank’s board of directors. He also points out, in an Sept 30, 2008 issue of the AgUrban newsletter, that the big problem for local banks is the huge burden of regulation that is out-scale for small banks. Also read the Nov. 18, 2008 issue, and the reader reactions in the Oct. 7, 2008 issue.

 So, what’s your take on the bank local initiative?

Photo by Becky McCray.

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.
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Comments

  1. says

    I wish we had a local bank! In the 10 years I was with my last bank it went from a truly local bank with 3 branches in 3 adjacent towns to being bought 5 times, each time by a larger and larger bank causing various branches to close and services to suffer.

    When we bought our restaurant and moved 100 miles north, we actually had to change banks – there were two banks in town and we started out with the smaller of the two. They weren’t able to provide some of the services our business needed, so we switched to the big bank, although kept our personal account at the smaller one.

    Now that we’ve closed our restaurant, there are several very small, truly local banks in the community in which we live. I’m in the process of shifting our main account to one of those banks – it seems in this part of very northern New Hampshire small-town community banks are still alive and well!

  2. says

    Mary, I was reminded on Twitter that it’s a luxury of small banks that they call you when anything is not right. I can’t imagine dealing with any other kind of bank.

  3. says

    I’m so glad that my community has more than one local bank. I bank at one of them and have done so over the course of the last few decades, even when I had the choice of a “national” bank.

    One of the services my bank offers that I love is that they put *my picture* on my credit/debit/ATM cards to fight fraud! European banks have been doing this for years. My bank also offers an online banking system that I have found reliable and convenient. Best of all, it’s not at all unusual for the bank employees to greet me by name, both at the bank and around town.

    Local banks FTW!

  4. says

    I have had our personal and farm accounts with a local credit union for many years. They work great with us on approving loans without us have to go to the office in another town.

    When we opened our latest business we opend an account with them, but they were unable to provide us with creidt card services. Our business is one that makes it difficult to acquire a credit card service. Instead of going to a national bank we found another local bank willing to work with us and actaully gave us as good if not better rates on credit card stuff than the national guys.

    Banking local is great. The folks know you and can stay up with what you are doing to grow your business. We love it.

  5. says

    I created a local bank account for my city council campaign; and so, last week I returned there (one of three community banks) and opened a new account…which I intend to gradually shift over to from my current Sovereign Bank account which I’m sure you’ve heard of.

  6. James Shewmaker says

    Becky I tried this. About Fourteen months later, Regulators closed the local bank and assets were moved to a larger banking corporation. We have been seeing small Bank Failures right and left, and I just read about another near me that is expected to fail. Sure would like to know where to put some money in a local stable bank in my area.

  7. says

    The main local bank sold itself to another bank shortly before the economy collapsed. There was a big stink about it, too.

    Our two locally-based credit unions both failed and were taken over by an out-of-state CU (where I intend to reopen an account later this year). I’m really in favor of small, locally-owned businesses (SLOBs) and banks vs. large, out-of-area corporations (LOOACs) and banks.

    Unfortunately, when I’m home, it is because I’m off of work. When I’m working, I am usually out of state. It makes it challenging to find a bank that meets my needs at home and still is accessible outside the area.

  8. says

    You know, my local banks offer excellent online banking accessible from anywhere, and yet they are the kind of local banks that still accept counter checks. I hope you find such an outstanding solution somewhere in your travels.

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